Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The New Dana-Farber

So I am sitting in the waiting room at the new Yawkey Building at Dana-Farber for my 6 month visit. It is already an incredibly different experience and more reminiscent of my experiences at Oregon Health and Sciences University. First, the parking lot was much larger and there were plenty of spots. I am sure that arriving at 7:30 AM helped with this. I then went to the laboratory on the second floor. That is all that was there. It was quick, clean, and efficient. I also noticed that privacy was much more of a factor. They called patients by their first name and last initial rather than their full names which had always bothered me in the past.

After my blood work was done, I went up to the 8th floor where there was a leukemia and lymphoma clinic. It was not crowded, wide open with plenty of seating. There was even a "nourishment" stand where I was able to get a nice tea. There is even a nice monitor with announcements for the hospital. One notice just said that if you have time, you can borrow an ipad to keep busy. A man even came around offering me a newspaper which I gladly accepted.

I was quickly taken into have my vital signs done as well. This was efficient and a much nicer set up.Then things started to get messy. The power went out in the whole building and the staff had to scramble to figure out what to do. Since all the records, lab results, and scheduling are computer-based, they were pretty much helpless. I ended up being taken to see my doctor about 45 minutes late and he had no information about me other than my name. I had to give him a brief synopsis. He was able to find my lab results which were normal. I am waiting for my PCR results which take about 2 weeks. No significant changes.

As I was about to leave, the power went back on. Despite the technical difficulties, it was still a much more pleasant experience than what I was used to at Dana-Farber. I happened to stop on the 3rd floor where I found the healing garden and the dining pavilion. Not bad.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Five Years

It is hard to believe that I have reached the milestone of 5 years past initial diagnosis, but I have. I guess time flies when you are having fun. It really is a poignant moment to reflect however. It was not that long ago that people with my diagnosis were told they may only have 5 years to live. I am so thankful that I was lucky enough to be a recipient of ground-breaking medical treatment.

I remember that day 5 years ago vividly. I actually ripped the day off in the calendar in the hospital as some sort of memento. All I wanted to do was eat the Chinese food I had picked up after work. Instead, I got "the call". and reported to the ER immediately. It was all surreal what happened over the next couple of weeks.

I really have been so lucky to continue to respond well to Gleevec and essentially live almost symptom free. I am so thankful to my family and friends that have supported me and continue to do so.

I head back to Dana-Farber at the end of the month. I also go to OHSU in Portland in May. Let's hope the good results continue.